'Egotist', 'Masochist', 'Supplicant': Charlie and Donald Kaufman and the gendered screenwriter as creative worker

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This article offers a gendered reading of the screenwriter as creative worker in the context of the unequal socio-economy of screenwriting work. A number of ideal subject positions for the screenwriter are evoked in screenwriting manuals, pedagogies and representations of writers themselves, in particular, the ‘egotist’, the ‘masochist’ and the ‘supplicant’. These subjects are masculine in orientation although rarely acknowledged in gendered terms. The article draws on findings from a three-year study of British screenwriters but for the purposes of this volume, focuses on on-screen portrayals of screenwriting work. In particular, the analysis looks at the film Adaptation (2002) and the ways in which the film and its characters embody these subject positions. Not only are these ideal types circulated and recirculated in discourse about screenwriting as creative work but they are constitutive of screenwriting as a profession and a representative sphere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-127
Number of pages15
JournalThe Sociological Review
Issue numberS1
Early online date1 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015


  • Screenwriting
  • Creative Labour


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